HELP! MES not putting out smoke.

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smoking in ft. collins, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Hello,

    I have a new Masterbuilt Electric and am using it for the second time. I reported that it did not generate much/any smoke the first time I used it and was told NOT to soak the hickory chips.

    Today I have it fired up and it is sitting at 220* with DRY chips and there is no smoke coming out.

    The chips are in the pan provide by the MFG and the pan sits in a grate but does NOT touch the heating element.  In fact the pan is about half an inch above the element.

    Any ideas???

    I am ready to fire up my charcoal smoker.
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I would fire up a charcoal smoker as a first choice anyway for better flavor hands down but many MES folks put in a amazen smoke generator.   What kind of charcoal smoker do you have?
  3. Chargriller barrel with a side smoke box.  it is firing up now.

    I really want to understand why the thing doesn't work.  I have also been told that the amazing smoke generator does not work well at altitude (I am at 5000 feet).
  4. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Are the chips burning at all??? Maybe the element isn't getting hot enough.
  5. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    A little off topic but you could build a UDS or mini and have an efficient bad *** smoker that would work great at your altitude. 
  6. The chips do not appear to be burning at all.  My temp was measured by an accurate digital thermometer.
  7. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead

    So your at 220 and the chips won't smoke... That is very strange. Call masterbuilt before they close for the day. Even if you use the other smoker for dinner at least you can have them help problem solve and possibly send you new parts today
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is your chip tray hot? Is it inserted properly caressing the heating element?

    Are you being a nosy cook? You must leave the door shut and let the heater come on. its takes longer than 10 mins. its electric.

    Try putting the temp to 275 and see if it smokes. open the outlet vent completely so it can draw a draft.
  9. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    I have the MES 40, and I've never had a problem getting smoke at lower temps. Makes me wonder also if you might be having an element problem. I was actually getting too much smoke for my tastes, so I went the AMNPS route. Just got it this week and will be using it for the first time this weekend. But back to your issue, I agree, a call to Masterbuilt wouldn't be a bad idea.
  10. caressing he heating element?  It is a half inch away from the element.  I figure that is my problem.

    Oh and there is NO vent.  Only a hole in the back for the smoke to escape.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  11. cueinco

    cueinco Smoke Blower

    I've got the same unit. I used the chip tray once. After reading a bunch of stuff on this forum, I bought an A-maze-n Tube Smoker. The results have been great. Don't think I'd ever use chips again. I've smoked ribs, brisket, cheese, trout, salmon, and pork loin. All with the MES and a tube smoker. They have all been great. 
  12. Did the chip tray touch the heating element?
  13. cueinco

    cueinco Smoke Blower

    Just took the cover off mine to double check. Don't want to give you bum info. No, the tray doesn't touch or rest on the element. I would say it sits about 1/8 to 1/4  inch above the element. It seemed closer to the element in the front and bit further from the element in the rear. I tried to put a yellow pencil between the bottom of the tray and the element to create a visual for a picture. The pencil wouldn't fit. I'd guess it was too large by at least 2x. 
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    1/2" is probably too far from element.

    The first one I got had an extra piece of metal between the element & the chip drawer.

    It wouldn't smoke until about 220*, and then only when the element was on.

    At that time they had a Retro-fix, and they sent one to me.

    This one didn't have the extra piece of metal, and the element was too close to the chip drawer, causing the chips to flame up.

    I probably could have bent things around to get it to work better, but it would never work like an Amazing Smoker.

    SOoooo  I filled my AMNPS with pellets, lit it, and put it in, giving me perfect smoke for up to 12 hours without touching it.

    I never looked back, and we smoked Happily Ever After.

  15. Ok, I have been doing some reading and I can't see similarities between my smoker and others so here are some pics.

    Inside chip tray.


    Intake hole.


    Exhaust hole.


    There are no other vents.

    Did I but the wrong model?
  16. cueinco

    cueinco Smoke Blower

    Looks just like mine. Is the bottom tray, which holds the chip tray, in the slots on the side straight? In your picture, it looks a bit racked. 
  17. Yes it is straight, just a crooked picture :)

    You are in Louisville and you use the Amazing tube smoker.  Can you send me a link?
  18. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What you have is an analog unit. You don't have a variable rheostat, your controller has high medium low or maybe 5 such setting? Is that right?
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ft Collins,

    Yes, like Foamy said, you have the analog smoker----I should have asked, but there are so few of them I forget to.

    I would think since you are at 5,000 ft, I would go with the Amazing tube smoker, because they are easier to keep smoking.

    Just click on the business card below "A-MAZE-N-SMOKER", and check out the AMNTS.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  20. I gave up on the electric last night.  I talked to Masterbuilt today and they said that the heating element should *touch* the chip tray and that I should bend the element up to touch it.

    What size tube do most people use?

    Thanks for all the input.


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